Consumer Reports' 2012 Top Picks Are Out

Chevy Avalanche 2012 2 II

What's the best all-around pickup truck sold in the U.S.?

If you ask the folks at Consumer Reports, they will tell you it's the 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche, offering the best mix of on- and off-road capability and practical and stylish looks, and it offers several clever problem-solving features that put it ahead of its competitors.

"The Avalanche provides the best combination of utility and versatility of any pickup CR has tested. Its unified bed and cab help give it a steady, comfortable ride, and the cabin is quiet," Consumer Reports says.

In its annual Top Picks announcement, Consumer Reports identifies 10 categories designed to encompass the consumer sales spectrum. Those categories include Family Sedan, Sporty Car, Small SUV, Affordable Family Sedan, Family Hauler, Sports Sedan, Green Car, Small Car, Pickup Truck, and Family SUV. To see the full press release and the category winners, click here.

Consumer Reports’ Top Picks are the best all-around models in the 10 categories, chosen from more than 275 vehicles the publication has recently tested. Top Pick models must meet CR’s stringent criteria in three areas: road test, reliability and safety. They must rank at or near the top of their category on overall road test scores; they must have earned an average or better predicted-reliability Rating based on problems Consumer Reports subscribers reported on 1.3 million vehicles in the latest survey; and they must perform well if included in crash or rollover tests by the government or the insurance industry.

Chevy Avalanche 2012 3 II


This isn't a pickup, its a Suburban with the back roof cut off.

It is more SUV then truck.

Nice try. I can haul and tow...same amount as an SUV..not a truck

Having Consumer Reports select "the best all-around pickup truck sold in the U.S." is like having Pee Wee Herman select all the Oscar winners. Entertaining perhaps but not particularly useful.

The Avalanche may not survive but I hope the idea of a midgate does. But not like the one the Avalanche has.. something much easier to operate. A midgate that folds over the rear seats.

If Chevy, Ford or Dodge ever builit a midsize mega/king cab truck with an easy fold down midgate and a Rambox like feature it would be a best seller. Something wide like a fullsize but short like a midsize suv with a short bed. Low and tight like a race truck.

It lost credibility at the mention of "Consumer Reports"...

Typical Consumer Reports. Can't even tell a pickup from a car with a bed.



Did anyone else notice that top picture with the rocks and it's got those street tires and low suspension.

It looks like they air-lifted the thing in by helicopter or that is some really good green screen or photo shop work. It wouldn't make it 10 feet before getting a flat tire, getting stuck or tearing up the under carriage. Probably all of the above.

Problem solving features???

Go-go-Gadget helicopter?
Go-go-Gadget tow truck?
Go-go-Gadget valet parking attendant?

Off road capability? ...Please.
And what about all the ugly?

Peeps who buy hacked off suvs buy it bcuz they dont need full pickup truck capability. Which is fine, but it should be called a s'uck.

It is a type of pickup truck but it is properly classified as a Sport Utility Truck or SUT which is derived from a SUV or crossover.

Consumer Reports uses several different categories and selections for cars and SUV's, but uses only one category for all pickup trucks and for that they pick a SUT. Why? It doesn't make sense because there are different types of pickup trucks and more pickup trucks sold than all of these cars and SUV's combined.

Get rid of all that goofy plastic garbage on the bed, change a few things up and that would have made the perfect 1500 Silverado. Much better looking than the ugly 1500 we got stuck with. I never did understand why they didn't use this as the truck as the Suburban/Tahoe/Silverado-CK truck always were the same historically. Dare I say to the Ford fans here, I think Chevrolet could have gone toe to toe with the F-150 sales had the Silverado looked more like this and less like a cartoon. Typical GM. Screwing up everything just for the hell of it.

Consumer Reports? An SUT is just that, it's not a true truck!

It’s obvious by these comments that most of you have never owned or even driven an Avalanche. I have owned 5 and will continue to buy. How many other trucks can easily haul a 12” piece of lumber? Can haul 4x8 sheets completely inside, out of the elements and locked? Tow with the best of them? Drive and Ride like a luxury car? Come with a bed liner and rubber mat? Includes cargo lighting while covered? Lock cargo when doors lock? Better weight distribution than those with open bed? All this while functioning as roomy 5 passenger transportation with more trunk space than any other vehicle?

"off-road capability"

What happened with the approach angle?

Should I even bother to mention the break-over angle?

My brother owns an Avalanche and he loves it. When traveling, he keeps all of his gear/luggage in the bed and it's locked, out of the elements, and hard to steal. When I travel with my Silverado and have to stop to eat or whatever, I have to transfer all my stuff into the cab and it becomes a huge headache and waste of time. Not to mention all the thieves who see all my stuff piled up in the cab and are tempted to steal it. I heard from my local Cadillac dealer that the Escalade version of the Avalanche is done after the 2013 model year. I'm assuming that Chevrolet is pulling the plug on the Avalanche as well? The Avalanche has won numerous awards for it versatility and dependability, not to mention the great ride it has. I could do without all that plastic on the bed, but I'm sure it serves a purpose.

"I heard from my local Cadillac dealer that the Escalade version of the Avalanche is done after the 2013 model year. I'm assuming that Chevrolet is pulling the plug on the Avalanche as well?"



That explains why the Ava has the Escalade's wide brake light on the roof. The Ford Ranger had Mazda wheels when the B-Series ended production in 2009 or 2010, which probably spelled its own end.

I thought 2012 or 2013 was supposed to be the last year of the Avalanche. Is this true or did they change it?


You don't need an Avalanche for that. You can buy a tonneau cover for your Silverado

The Avalanche is the perfect vehicle for poeple who cannot decide between an SUV or a truck and have no real need for either.

This part is hilarious. "Its unifed cab and bed help give it a steady comfortable ride". Really? Thats all it takes for a smooth ride? Geez, the body of my old 92 Jeep Wrangler was a solid unit and it rode like crap. When it comes to vehicles I just can't take these guys seriously.

It's Honda Ridgeline's big brother. They can keep their Aztek sibbling. At least the newer models are better looking.

What a Joke!

Consumer Reports......CRACK IS WHACK!

I do know that the ladies love the Avalanche. They get out of a new (name your brand here) pickup and will say something like " I wish we had one of those" ... Thank you !
Then she starts telling me about him and how he always comes home with the same (name your brand here) truck every couple of years. .... I understand... my # ?...OK.

Consumer Reports’ bias against American auto companies continues… only 2 winners out of 10 categories? And yet EVERY other major publication and award has stated the parity of American autos, especially Ford, with the Japanese in terms of quality.

Consumer Reports is a lousy rag.

just having cr picking an American vehical is a miracle in of itself shock

I would not mind a 2500 avalanche with 4.5L Diesel. The 2500 burb is nice, but I really don't need the 3rd row seat. I perfer the seperated storage for dirty/smelly items. I have carried tires and a transmission in my wife's SUV and while it worked I hated the smell.

This seperated bed provides that space for dirty cargo. I would like 2500 model to get more tow capacity so I can tow a 24ft enclosed car trailer with ease. The 6.0 in the burb is good, but thirsty and a 4.5L durmax would be great. 300hp and 400lbs of torque at 24-25 mpg Hwy on stable 9000lbs.

Personally I don't need a truck 27 out of 30 days a month, but when I do need a truck I need one to tow and be able to haul.
My current 2500 dodge V10 tows and hauls great, but sucks gas down and is not the most comfortable ride.

glowing report for a truck that doesnt sell well and supposed to be discontinued soon...

I'm sorry but consumer reports if they ever had any thing to stand on just got kicked square in the nuts and fell to the ground in the fetal position with this report

no disrepect to you Mark, your just reporting whats out there in truck land, keep it coming !

These on NOT ratings from CR editors.

The scoring came from 1.3 million CR respondents. These are OWNER reviews. All CR did was collect the data, and report the findings.

Blame the vehicle owners—not CR editors—for the conclusions made.

The Avalanche is an excellent truck. I added one to my fleet in 2007 with the 6.0L engine. It was a pleasure to drive. I agree with the 4.5 L diesel. That would make it perfect.

I know several people that drive Avalanches and they all seem to like them.

I'd definitley consider one. It offers long bed copacity enclosed in a truck that's the same length as my 05 1500 crew.

Of course there is some give and take but to dismiss it because the bed isn't detached form the cab is just stupid.

The Avalanche and the Ridgeline may be dead, but the idea of turning midsize trucks into SUV/Truck designs will only get bigger as there is a market out there that is clammering for fuel efficient, DIY user style of truck that have the creature comforts of an SUV. Like it or not it is the next step in the evolution of the truck. I refer to these new style as Suburban Utility Truck.

I understand that some people dont want or need a full size truck all the time, but this vehicle is hideous and ugly, not to mention, almost nonfunctional. So you would rather have this than a real truck just to haul some 4 by 8 pieces of wood or accomodate 5 people? maybe you as suv owners, need to re-evaluate your needs. trucks are for work, theyre made to get dirty. If you want to get good gas mileage or use your vehicle once in a blue moon, then stick with this crap. Enjoy your cheap pastic box because your too frugal to spend a few extra dollars.

By the way, since when has consumer reports have any validity in the auto industry? I would listen to motor trend rather than consumer reports, which emcompasses all facets of electronics.

This cheap garbage is not built to withstand heavy workloads. It is intended for the crappy do it yourselfer, who never has any idea what their doing...........

I agree with Derrek. This would have been the perfect Silverado if you got rid of the plastic junk. I hate the current Silverado. It's flat out ugly and I agree it should have stayed the same like it always was. This however (without the plastic) I love. The thing is, the plastic junk ruins it and it's not a Silverado. The current Tahoe/Burb is the best looking suv Chevrolet ever built IMO. You also right in this, had the Silverado looked like the this, I would have bought one instead of my F-150. I've Always bought Chevrolet's, just not this one or that slant eyed one. They really effed up on the decisions made here. This should have been some sort of Package you could have ordered on the Silverado instead. Like the 'Avalanche Package'. They never should have ruined the Silverado just to make room for this.

Allistar, Non functional? Really I agree its more of an SUT then a Pickup, but fold the midgate down and you have an eight foot bed, Most crew cab pickups have a 5 1/2 foot bed on a wheelbase thats at least six inches longer. This is a great vehicle with plenty of versatility.

Enjoy your cheap pastic box because your too frugal to spend a few extra dollars.

I'd rather have a sturdy composite box over that tinfoil Chevy uses now they call sheetmetal. Absolute garbage for a truck. I owned one and would never own one again. My old 2001 Silverado I ordered with a composite box as an 800 dollar option and it Still looked like new the day I sold it. It was worth every penny! My 2009 I sold after 2 years and looked like it was hit by a tornado. I hate these current Chevy trucks. Total junk inside and out. I agree, had the Silverado looked like this, With a composite box, Without the extra junk, With the LTZ dashboard and bumper as standard with cloth, this truck would have been an out of the ballpark homerun.. GM screws up everything.

In concept, I actually like the Avalanche. A crew-cab 8ft bed pickup truck is absurdly long. I would never consider buying one to use as a daily driver.

The Avalanche would fit my needs better. When I'm doing work, it's a regular cab with an 8-ft bed. When I'm going out with the family, it a full crew cab with a 5ft bed. That works fine for me because rarely do I ever need both the 8ft bed and the ability to carry my whole family at the same time.

Plus, since it's still shorter overall than any crew-cab, it would be much easier to maneuver and park around town. This makes it easier to live with on a day to day basis.

Unfortunately, they dropped the 2500 version of the Avalanche, which had payload and towing more comparable to a traditional 1500 pickup. It also had leaf springs, which I find handle being heavily loaded better than coils.

Besides that, it's no longer available with an engine other than the 5.3L (unless you get the Escalade version), both of which I have no use for. I agree with the comments above that the little 4.5L diesel would have been perfect, but for some reason GM doesn't see fit to give us that engine in anything.

you do more stuff whit the avalanche,compare to ford raptor.....

I know a few people with chevy avalanches. They seem to love them, SUT is better term for one though not truck. It's not the best off roader, but you still got 4wd if the need comes

Quieter and with a better ride, than any full size pick-up.
Just don't buy the 20" wheels.

Quit a bit cheaper than the 'Burb. Can be had with a cloth bench seat. Best of all, last year they first allowed "body color body panels" eliminating those ugly chalking black vinyl rear pillars.

6.2 liter should be an option; @ 60000 lbs, definitively needs it.

@chh: Tow with the best of them? The best of who? Weighing more then most 4x4 1500 trucks, and only powered by a 5.3, (less power then a Ford Ecoboost or V-8, Hemi, Tundra 5.7, Titan.) hope you enjoy using alot of 2nd gear! Also the thought of 1st gear, if you should find yourself with 3.08 gears, lol. Thats about the worst set up for towing. But it will get the MPG number they want, at 75 mph.

For once CS gets it right. Despite the woefully uneducated redneck hillbillies posting "Whaaaa, sniffle cry, whine, sissy bellyache it's not a pick up", it fits the catagory. It has better off road, hauling, pulling, fuel economy, style and class than any of fords PU's. Plus it will last 15 yrs longer than anything ford or toyjunka makes. Go cry in your rusty broken down 5 yrs old clunker ford girlies. Avalanche rules ford drools.

tj=bob ?

we up to 25 now for alias'es?

The answer might be to let trucks be trucks and then fill the small efficient truck gap with cool UTEs like the Mila Coupic or the Open Cargo Coupe.

I actually think it would be so cool if Chevy took something like the Camaro and it's useless rear seats and offered a muscle trucklet version. Change the roofline to look more like the Cadilac CTS Coupe, Give it a truck like tailgate and retractable rear window and a very versatile rear seats.. maybe even rear facing seats.

Something like this:

tj=bob ?

we up to 25 now for alias'es?

@Dean... And counting. lol

Not everyone has the same needs of a truck. So why should we all get the same thing. My needs are diverse and for now the best way to serve both is with two seperate vehicles. I have daily driver for driving and an older 3/4 ton gas truck for "heavy lifting". Storage is my concern and it would be nice to do both jobs with one. So far nothing meets my needs. I personally have little desire to drive a truck for appearances or because it is cool. I want to drive a truck to tow and haul. IE work. My issue is that this work is occasional weekend work not daily work.

Why is this any less important than your work? This weekend I will be working my dodge hard. I will be towing my 24Ft enclosed car trailer of about 7 to 8000lbs 600 miles the race track. 6hr each way at 70 mph. In truck will by my family and in the bed will be 2-3 sets of spare tires, 20 gallons of race gas and other gear. I run with about 2000lbs of payload when combined with people and tongue load. Please tell me how this is not work?

My only issue that while this truck works just fine I cannot afford to drive it to work every day with an 80 mile daily commute. So the truck sits when not towing/hauling. Not to mention while it rides fine when towing it is not the most confortable truck when empty. So for me a 2500 burb with small diesel (to make solid daily drive mileage) would be almost perfect. Give it open bed like avalanche and I would be all over it.

Consumer reports picks the avalanche like every year! lol lol what a joke.

Consumer reports hates EVERYTHING unless it performs like a camry. i'll prove it.......

Consumer reports DOGS the Jeep wrangler on EVERY single thing, but people LOVE THEM. SAME exact story about the FJ Cruiser, but people LOVE them.

You must use consumer reports for just facts of "TESTED" vehicles, anything else subjective they have ZERO CLUE..... USELESS i have nothing else to say about that lol.

And is it just me, but look up Avalanche on and look up safety. There's nothing there! No IIHS! Consumer Reports is all about expecting a full size truck to corner like a Mustang, to get Camry mileage, stop like a liteweight sports car, and still have a low step in! Tj, Bob, whoever: if you want 21 MPG from a Ram or Ford, it's there, just get like gears as this has, 3.15 and 3.21. It's just that Ford and Ram also offer higher gears like 3.73 and 3.92 and the ratings are averaged. The Tundra might not get 21 with a the lower 4.10 gear, but it sure will do alot better job pulling the the load at the max tow rating the Avalanche has. If Toyota wanted to play the mileage game as Chevy does, they could slip in 3.9 gears that the 4.6 V-8 has, but that's not how they do it. Atleast if you buy a Tundra 5.7 it will move it alot easier, a heck of alot less rpm and shifting.

@hemi lol - I use Consumer Reports for the reliability data. I also compare CR to JD Power. It gives someone a better idea as to what the problems are. If a person has time and patience, they then can wade through a "fan site". The guys their are usually pretty honest with each other as to what the problems are. With that being said, rare problem items can get blown up and/or over-exaggerated on a fan site.
Pickup truck tests need to be validated by other sources too. I like and trust PUTC, but I'll look at what other sites say. If the same comments keep surfacing e.g. crappy interiors, or poor real world fuel economy, I'll definately take note of it.
Any research data needs to be confirmed or replicated by other sources. One must look at the evaluation criteria. That is a big plus for PUTC. Evaluation criteria is usually clearly explained.

I don't mind the Avalanche and Ridgeline. I looked at both, but they don't meet my wants/needs. I kow a guy who had an Avalanche and liked it. He now has a Tundra (needs change). I agree with some of the other posters that this is the look that the Silverado should of had. The Suburban and Avalanche are good looking vehicles IMHO. I prefer the Suburban to the Explorer. Chevy needs to put a diesel in the Suburban. Excursion diesels were extremely popular where I live when they were made. Contractors with large crews loved them.

@ lou

I totally agree with you. I just think its funny that they pick the avalanche every year which most people with true truck needs wont pick an avalanche. I agree they look good too, just dont think they should be picked by them every year when its more of an SUV than a truck.

I also agree with you that they should put a duramax in the 2500 suburban. They used to put the 6.5 turbo diesel in the late 90's version but it has less towing capability than the big block 454.

C.R. - Go back to doing what you do best - picking your favorite Toyota or Honda family sedan. Really.

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